The best places to eat seafood on the Gold Coast
The ocean stretch between Coolangatta and Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast isn’t just for surfing – the sparkling waters are home to some of the best seafood in Australia.
From restaurants, trawlers, takeaway joints and seafood shacks, it’s time to roll up your sleeves (and maybe even put on a plastic bib), and join us for a taste of some of the freshest seafood you’re ever likely to eat.
HELLENIKA, NOBBY BEACH
Hellenika is a Greek restaurant, but not as you know it. A glittering white rooftop dotted with yellow umbrellas has superseded the traditional old-school blue and white décor; while inside, paintings of famous and infamous people with Greek heritage adorn the walls (think Cat Stevens, Nick Giannopoulos and Aristotle Onassis).
Each day owner Simon Gloftis flies in the freshest and best Australian seafood, so the menu changes depending on what’s biting. This is fish with a conscience – all of Hellenika’s seafood is certified sustainable.
Order the bite-size morsels of Htapodi (octopus), which is grilled and succulent.
Where: 2235 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach
RICK SHORES, BURLEIGH HEADS
As the seasons change, so does the menu at Rick Shores. But fear not, ‘Rick’s fried bug roll’ (pieces of tender Morton Bay bug meat in a light, crispy batter, gem lettuce and sriracha on a soft brioche-style bun) and the king prawn yellow curry aren’t going anywhere.
These two signature dishes are crowd favourites at the seafood speciality restaurant overlooking the wide stretch of white sand and rolling waves at Burleigh Beach. Head chef James Brady’s menu often features Queensland snapper, coral trout, prawns and Moreton Bay bugs.
If you look carefully at the dishes you’ll also spot wild foods that James has gathered during his weekly foraging adventures, such as wild garlic, wood sorrel, nasturtium leaves and sea purslane.
Hot tip: Book early and request an ocean-view table.
Where: 43 Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads
KING CRAB CO, MARINA MIRAGE
It’s not unusual to see chef Josh Fulton walking amongst the white-legged timber tables along the boardwalk at the glimmering Marina Mirage. Eating at King Crab Co is as much an education as a dining experience.
Josh is only too happy to explain how to use the crab shell-busting implements in the small red buckets on each table or tell you where he sourced the spanner crabs (Fraser Island) before you put on your bib and tuck in. Lots of the seafood is brought into the restaurant live. You can’t get fresher than that.
Also try the crispy house-made crab cakes with juicy crabmeat, fresh herbs and a hint of chilli.
Where: 74 Seaworld Drive, Marina Mirage, Main Beach
FISHMONGER, BURLEIGH HEADS
What good is fish without some crispy, crunchy and perfectly cooked chips? From the outside, this colourful old-school fishmonger and fish and chippery looks fairly simple, but looks can be deceiving.
Locals flock to order the freshly caught fish with a generous side of chips. Those in the know can also ask for a sprinkle of chicken salt.
Grab a juice from the Burleigh Juice Bar next door before wandering down to the beach for a seaside picnic.
Where: 9 James St, Burleigh Heads
THE FISH HOUSE, BURLEIGH HEADS
For some of the freshest fish on the Gold Coast, you can’t go past The Fish House. The menu changes daily as sustainably caught fish is flown in from all over Australia.
There’s a huge selection of seafood dishes, including raw, caviar, whole fish and pasta. To start, order the Mooloolaba yellow fin tuna, which is seared with miso and sesame seeds and dressed in ginger, garlic, wasabi oil and candied yuzu.
Whole fish is one of the house specialities here, so be sure to keep an eye out for the coral trout, caught off the coast of Cairns. But the prawn cocktail with local prawns is an absolutely delicious blast from the past.
Where: 50 Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads
PETER’S FISHMARKET, MAIN BEACH
It’s big, it’s bustling and it has some of the freshest seafood on the Gold Coast. Peter’s Fishmarket is an institution in these parts, and we love that you can choose from a huge array of fresh seafood (think snapper, octopus, coral trout, mud crab, ocean perch, king prawns, scallops, oysters and lobsters) and they’ll cook it for you on the spot.
Pull up a seat in front of the trawlers moored on Main Beach or if you fancy a quieter spot, grab your parcel of fish and chips and head down to The Spit.
Try to get there early because the queues can get lengthy
Where: 120 Seaworld Dr, Main Beach,
Psst! Here are some more top spots for fish and chips on the Gold Coast.
SEASCAPE, SURFERS PARADISE
With seemingly endless views of Surfers Paradise Beach, Seascape is the kind of spot where you can easily while away an afternoon or evening.
No fewer than six fresh fish species are on offer daily (think seared yellow fin tuna with white kimchi or pan fried red emperor with sriracha mayo), while beautifully presented and flavourful Queensland prawns and Moreton Bay bugs make regular appearances on the main menu.
Work your way from the open-air bistro and bar on level one before settling in to dine at the sophisticated restaurant on level two.
Where: 4 Esplanade, Surfers Paradise